Earlier this month, we reported that Apple likely acquired Swiss real-time motion capture firm Faceshift, based on the company’s corporate directors stepping down in August and being replaced by Martin Frey, a mergers and acquisitions attorney at Baker & McKenzie. Apple has frequently used Baker & McKenzie’s services around the world, including management of some of Apple’s Swiss trademarks.
Lending further credence to the rumor, Apple has posted a job listing for a PhD-level Software Engineering position within its Camera and Media Algorithms Group. The listing provides a generic location of Apple’s Swiss corporate headquarters at Löwenstrasse 29 in Zurich, Switzerland, but the highly technical skills and experience required for the job suggest it may be located at nearby Faceshift.
This engineer will work to create cutting-edge imaging algorithms for both mobile and desktop photographic applications. The ideal candidate will have experience with advanced imaging techniques such as multi-scale, wavelet, or gradient-domain processing. In addition, experience with processing video for computational information is desired including experience with image registration methods. Also, experience working with multi-spectral imaging systems is desired. 5+ years algorithmic development for general image processing, computational photography, color and image quality. Strong understanding of digital imaging/camera pipelines. Strong computational and imaging for information experience. Excellent coding skills in C, C++, and MATLAB Ability to optimize/debug imaging algorithms. Familiarity with common development and debugging tools, ideally for both mobile and desktop applications. Strong verbal and written communication skills in English. Ability to manage multiple tasks and self-prioritize. PhD in image processing or computational photography field required.
Faceshift launched in 2011 out of the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at EPFL in Lausanne, also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and a source working in a similar field told MacRumors that Apple may be working with Switzerland’s other technical university ETH Zurich on image segmentation and characterization at a secretive location in Zurich.
Nevertheless, the acquisition still cannot be proved beyond circumstantial evidence.
Faceshift has largely shut down its website that formerly advertised its upcoming consumer effort and a partnership for integration with Intel’s RealSense 3D camera systems
Faceshift has removed nearly all mentions of its previous Faceshift Studio software from its website and has gone silent on Twitter and Facebook
Multiple employees at Faceshift have updated their LinkedIn profiles with „Currently Looking For New Opportunities“ or „Considering New Opportunities“
Faceshift has demoed its motion capture technology several times in the past few years, including at GDC 2015.
There are numerous ways in which Apple could use Faceshift’s technologies, should this acquisition rumor prove true, ranging from real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats to biometrics for unlocking devices or authorizing payments via facial recognition. Apple’s past acquisition of 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense and Swedish facial recognition firm Polar Rose make it clear the company is interested in the space.
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